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Montevideo, October 5th 2023 - 02:46 UTC



Argentine banks re-open after more demonstrations.

Friday, January 11th 2002 - 20:00 UTC
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After another night of street demonstrations against the government and its financial restrictions, Argentine banks re-opened on Friday and immediately attracted long queues.

The street demonstrations began forming all over Buenos Aires before midnight after more details were revealed by the government of its emergency economy measures involving freezing of various bank accounts. The demonstrations took the now usual form of cacerolasos --- banging of pots and pans signifying the public's frustration and anger. They call the politicians thieves and robbers and say they want their money back.

The demonstrations, starting with fragmented ripples of discontent, grew into a huge wave of protest, sweeping down the main highways towards the Plaza de Mayo to be met with a strengthened force of riot police. As some of the protesters attempted to storm the metal riot barriers, police fired tear gas and rubber bullets. Several people were injured and some properties damaged, including banks and shops with smashed windows.

There are many reports of hardship involving all levels of society from pensioners to businesses denied access to their money. Many people have been unable to get life-saving drugs including thousands of diabetics. Brazil answered an urgent appeal for insulin by flying in 275-thousand packets of insulin.

One old man of 87 who had money deposited by relatives in a bank to help him enjoy Christmas and purchase the life-saving medicine he needs was still denied access to it three weeks later. Cheques deposited by businesses have not been credited weeks later. They and others have no money to pay their bills and credit card accounts.In a tightening of curbs to protect banks from massive withdrawals by frightened savers, current accounts above ten-thousand dollars and savings accounts above three-thousand dollars have been turned into fixed ?term deposits, untouchable for at least a year.

This is an attempt to keep banks viable after the government's measures forced them to swap savers' debts up to 100-thousand dollars into pesos at the old one-to-one rate to the dollar before a 29 per cent devaluation ended this ten-year parity peg and fixed the official rate at 1.40 to the dollar. But already a floating exchange rate is forcing up the rate.

Many banks face huge losses including Spanish and Italian subsidiaries. There are fears of bankruptcies and of a return to hyp

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